Spartan helmet
  • $400 RAISED OF $5,000 GOAL
  • 6 DONORS


  • Mary vonReichbauer $100.00
  • Linda Dunn $25.00
  • Heather Shea $50.00
  • Kimberly Tirva $100.00
  • Danielle Matlick $25.00
  • Ann Crain $100.00

empowHER Leadership Retreat

In a world where the challenges for young girls are numerous, ranging from the pervasive threat of cyber-bullying to the overwhelming pressure to meet unrealistic standards of perfection, empowHER stands as a beacon of hope and empowerment. Addressing pervasive issues like cyber-bullying and societal pressures, empowHER is on a transformative mission. Our goal is to equip fourth through ninth-grade girls with the essential tools, support, and a sense of community needed to navigate the complexities of adolescence, allowing them to emerge as resilient, confident, and empowered individuals.

Founded by Suzy Merchant, former MSU Women’s Basketball coach, empowHER has a deeply personal connection to its cause. Suzy's commitment was sparked by a tragic incident involving April Bocian, a promising young woman Suzy was recruiting for Michigan State University's basketball team. Tragically, unbeknownst to anyone, April faced various challenges and completed suicide during the recruitment process. In the aftermath, Suzy Merchant felt a deep calling to honor April's life and uplift young girls in our community. In tribute to April, her parents actively participate in the planning and activities of empowHER, embodying the program's commitment to creating a supportive community for young girls facing similar struggles.

Your generous donation to empowHER will directly impact the success of our programs, enabling us to provide essential resources to 4th grade - 9th grade girls. Together, let's create a world where every girl knows she is not alone—where she can confidently embrace her true self, seek help when needed, and thrive within a supportive community. Join us in empowering the next generation of resilient, confident, and successful young women. Your support can make all the difference.

Your Support Will Change a Girl’s Life

Scheduled for Saturday, April 20, 2024, at the MSU Breslin Center, the empowHER Leadership Retreat is not just an event; it's a transformative experience. In response to the evolving social landscape and the increasing influence of social media on girls' lives, empowHER is strategically designed to combat bullying, enhance self-confidence, and create a lasting sense of community.

Beyond the day itself, empowHER's commitment extends to its presenters and mentors, predominantly MSU college students who serve as living examples of the program's transformative power. These young role models are carefully selected for their inspirational journeys, bringing a personal touch to the empowerment process. Your support ensures that this ripple effect of empowerment goes beyond the confines of the event, creating a lasting impact on both mentors and participants alike.

Register for the empowHER leadership retreat here

Project Budget

To keep the participant cost accessible at $25, empowHER relies on support from donors. The all-in cost of $170 per girl covers speakers' fees, supplies, marketing, and more, maximizing the impact of the day for the girls. Your donation directly influences the success of our programs, enabling us to provide essential resources and scholarships to those who need them.

Who We Are

The volunteer empowHER Leadership Board, comprising 15 dedicated women, including founder Suzy Merchant, leaders from the community, and professionals from MSU, plays a pivotal role in making empowHER a reality year after year. Their diverse backgrounds create a synergy that ensures the program's success. Your support strengthens this collective effort to empower and inspire young girls, making a lasting impact on their lives and fostering a community of resilience and confidence. Join us in the journey of transforming lives and empowering the next generation of resilient, confident, and successful young women.

Make a Gift by Mail:

University Advancement
Spartan Way
535 Chestnut Road, Room 300
East Lansing, MI 48824

*Make check payable to Michigan State University and write “Appeal 24GGDCF1EMPH” in the note section.

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